Sharpening the saw is very important as we enter the end of the year. It will also give us an opportunity to start the next year on a relaxed frame of mind. Of course, this metaphor was made famous by Stephen Covey in his book Seven Habits. In my opinion as the complexity and challenge escalates the need for the Seven Habits elevates. The concept is simple. Focus on these 4 areas for personal renewal. This what Stephen Covey says are the keys for a successful life. It is to learn(mind), to live(physical), to love(emotional) and to leave a legacy(spirit). If we focus on these four areas consistently we can achieve lasting fulfillment.
1. Mind – Ensure you read broadly expose yourself to diverse books not even related to your field. Associate with people who are excellent and find a mentor. You can also use your mind for visualization.
2. Physical – Of course this is taking care of your physical side. This can be done through exercise, yoga or just long walks. The holidays are a perfect time to reevaluate where we can all make changes. Making some form of exercise a daily habit is a great step in this area aligning it to your specific health situation. The other aspects is to reduce stress and improve our nutrition. You can check out my article 10 Ways to Prevent and Beat Stress.
3. Emotional – This is all about taking care of the important relationships of your life. We can become better listeners and see where we can be better.
4. Spiritual – This need not be religious it can be understanding the greater purpose of your life and you can define a personal mission for your life. The holidays give us an opportunity to take this time to really see what we want for ourselves. The mission will keep changing as we evolve.
I want to expand the word sharpen and give some ideas on how we can renew ourselves.
Savor – While making improvements is great it is also important to acknowledge how good our life is currently. This is all about savoring your life for what it is. We can take the time to appreciate all the good things in our lives. The instant way to become happy is to savor the simple things including having a cup of your favorite coffee. We can also engage in a period of solitude to get close what we really want.
Hours – We can use this period of renewal to see where our hours went this year. The hours are the key for us to get more out of life. Knowing where it goes and where you want it to go can put us firmly in control.
Action – Once the renewal is done we need to define clear action steps for each area of life that is important to us. Only if we have clarity on what action we need to take we can apply what we learned.
Renewal– This is of course the whole purpose of sharpening yourself. This could be through long sleep, exercise, journaling, being around ocean sounds and walking. Of course, any great hobby would be also good like painting or writing.
Priorities – This is all about scheduling your priorities and not prioritizing your schedule. Deciding on what the next year should be about could be an effective use of our time. The Buffet method of prioritization is great. Write down your top 25 priorities, from that choose the top five and throw the rest of list away. Focus on the wildly important. I like the Big Rock metaphor. See we all have big rocks in our life and we have pebbles. In a jar if we put the pebbles first we will not have room for big rocks. The key is to put the big rocks of our life in the jar first and leave the pebbles for last.
Energy – This period of renewal should energize us completely to have a great start to next year. Energy is the currency of the 21st century. Once we prioritize energy we will achieve more and feel good about ourselves. You can check out my article on 11 Ways to have High Energy and Sustain it
Neglect – Finally we can take this time to see if we have been neglecting any key area of our lives and take appropriate course correction. Constant neglect can lead to pain later so it is imperative to put more focus on the areas of neglect.
I hope you have find some of these ideas useful in renewing yourself. So, let’s take time to sharpen the saw in this holiday season and welcome 2019 with our best selves. Happy Holidays to all.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.